Skip to main content

Copyright: For Faculty

Course Reserves

The safest way to use course reserves and keep costs down for students is to request the Library purchase a copy of the material and place it on reserve. This ensures that students have access to material while avoiding potential copyright infringement; this may not be possible for everything, however.

For electronic materials, if a copy is licensed by CCS (i.e. an article found using the databases provided by the Library/other departments), placing the article within Blackboard is acceptable. For materials that are openly available on the internet, including a link in your course material, rather than downloading or copying the work, is the best option.

Teaching Remotely

Distance learning has inherent challenges not seen in face-to-face learning environments. While fair use still applies, there are significantly more restrictions when showing films and videos. The law (more specifically, the TEACH Act of §110) does not provide specific limits on how much of an audiovisual work may be transmitted, but the following steps should be taken by anyone seeking to provide an audiovisual work to a class remotely: (1) the work must be directly related to the lesson being taught; (2) technological measures must be taken to prevent downloading of the work by students; (3) the transmission is limited to students enrolled in the course; and (4) the work itself is a lawfully obtained copy.

For help instituting these measures or other assistance, please contact the CCS Libraries.

Using Student Work for Teaching

Educators may use student works in subsequent classes to demonstrate an assignment. Best practice is to obtain permission from a student before using their work to demonstrate principles to other students. It is also important to credit the creator of the artwork.

Face-to-Face Classroom Use

For educational purposes specifically, many uses of copyrighted material are allowed. Using images within a lecture, for example, is allowed, provided the images are essential to the material being taught. Faculty should use copyrighted material judiciously, making sure that it is essential to the class. 

For in-person film screenings in the classroom, no limits are placed on how much of a work may be shown, so long as it is pedagogically necessary. It is imperative, however, that the original source material be obtained in a lawful way (i.e. do not use a pirated copy or one illegally posted YouTube).

For more guidance, visit the Exceptions for Instructors in U.S. Copyright Law eTool.

What About the 10% Rule?

When using written works, the best method is to apply the four factors of Fair Use (see the "Fair Use" tab). Although the 10% Rule is often cited in educational circumstances, this is problematic (the 10% Rule states that " more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less" is allowed for educational purposes). The problem is that the 10% Rule is not written into the law; therefore, using 1,000 words from a work still has the potential to be infringing, but it is also too constrictive since the 10% Rule was intended to state the minimum, rather than the maximum, amount allowed for educational purposes. For more information, see "The Four Fair Use Factors vs. The 10% Rule."

College for Creative Studies website